Openings and Closings

New York's Junior's Restaurant Opening in Boca Raton

One of New York's most beloved restaurants is officially becoming a snowbird.

Junior's, the iconic Brooklyn restaurant and bakery, is opening a location at Mizner Park in Boca Raton. The restaurant, slated to open in September, will take over the former Ruby Tuesday's spot. The 270-seat eatery will offer diners the option of eating inside or on the 120-seat patio. The restaurant will feature a full bar, a menu with more than 200 items, including classics like corned beef and pastrami, and a bakery and takeout area.

Sister publication Miami New Times, broke the story yesterday, with Junior's owner Alan Rosen confirming the news.

"We signed our lease last week," said Rosen, whose grandfather, father, and uncle opened the flagship Junior's in downtown Brooklyn on Election Day 1950. He said he had been looking for the perfect spot to open a restaurant in South Florida — what he calls the sixth borough of New York City. The search actually took several years, with Rosen not willing to settle for anything but prime space. Then a real estate broker called with a vacancy at Mizner Park.

"I went down to look at it 48 hours later and signed a letter of intent right away," Rosen said. "When you know, you know."

Once opened, the restaurant's menu will offer what Rosen calls Brooklyn comfort food.

"You can have a nice meal that runs the gamut from a simple salad to a sirloin steak," he said. Of course, the heartbeat of the restaurant lies in its famous New York-style cheesecake. The cakes are made the same way they were made when Rosen's ancestors opened Junior's. 

"They hit upon this magical formula for cheesecake. The recipe literally has not changed, and how many things can you say haven't changed in 65 years? It's the blend of quality, history, and tradition that makes it so special."

The secret to the cheesecake lies in a simple recipe of cream cheese, fresh eggs, sugar, heavy cream, and a touch of vanilla. The batter is blended for a full 45 minutes to make it creamy; then the cakes are baked in a water bath in a rotating oven. The resulting cake is an iconic representation of New York at its finest.

Rosen is also setting sights on opening additional South Florida locations. Crain's New York reported that a Miami restaurant is also in the works, but Rosen nixed concrete plans.

"Once we get our feet wet and we form a relationship with the local community, I can see there are a few restaurants in the future. But I'm sort of a one-trick pony. I want that first restaurant to be successful."

The restaurant mogul also has plans on distributing Junior's beloved cheesecake in several grocery chains, including a possible deal with Publix.

"We are not in Publix yet, but I would love to work with them. I think they're an amazing company. They're on my wish list."

Until Junior's arrives in Boca Raton, Miami, and on the shelves of our local Publix, the famous cheesecake is available for sale through shopping channel QVC. If you're planning a trip to New York City, you can visit Junior's in Times Square, Grand Central Station, and Foxwoods Casino (in Connecticut) — but a visit to the original Brooklyn restaurant is a trip back in time — and an original New York experience.

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times, covering the restaurant and bar scene in South Florida. She has been featured on Cooking Channel’s Eat Street and Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race. Doss won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature on what it’s like to wait tables. In a previous life, she appeared off-Broadway and shook many a cocktail as a bartender at venues in South Florida and New York City. When she’s not writing, you can find Doss running some marathon then celebrating at the nearest watering hole.
Contact: Laine Doss